And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. — Ruth 1:16
Great wails accompanied my youngest daughter’s insistent clinging as I attempted to leave her at a friend’s house so I could spend a couple of hours doing some volunteer work. I tried to convince her of the benefits of staying with my friend. I said that her sister would be there too, that she would have more fun playing with the other children, and that Mommy was coming back soon. All my words were to no avail. Our children have a connection with us, and in this case, my daughter did not want that “connection” broken for even a little while.
All of us have connections with other people, and some of those relationships are treasures to us. When I consider my special connections, I think of one gentleman, now growing older, who is a beautiful example of godly wisdom, righteousness, and gentleness. There is a lady who demonstrates gracious behavior and thoughtfulness with her knack of saying things in the right way at the appropriate time. Another lady is a vivacious and enthusiastic Christian. Whenever she speaks of someone, it is in a positive light, and she always believes the best of everyone.
These relationships are special to me because of the Christ-like virtues reflected in the lives of these people. In a similar way, Ruth’s heart had caught a glimpse of something special in the life of Naomi. Ruth had come to the realization that Naomi’s God was the true God, and she determined to accompany Naomi as she left Moab for Israel. The life that Naomi and her family had lived caused Ruth to make a life-changing decision.
Think about the people you know who have been born again because someone witnessed to them at school, on the job, in the home, or at a place of business. Then evaluate your own life. Does rubbing elbows with you enrich the lives of others? Do you exemplify virtues that would cause people to make life-changing decisions to serve God? Let us purpose to live in a way that will draw others to our Savior!
The time frame for the Book of Ruth is about one hundred thirty years after the Israelites entered the land of Canaan, in the era of the judges. Just three generations after Ruth’s story took place, David, the great-grandson of Ruth and Boaz, became the second king of Israel.
Moab was east of Israel, and its people were descendants of Lot. The Moabites often troubled the Children of Israel, so Elimelech left his inheritance in Israel to move to an enemy country. There his sons married Gentile women. Elimelech had endeavored to escape a famine, but eventually there were three funerals. Widows were dependent upon their families to sustain them, and the situation for these three women looked bleak.
After being in Moab for about ten years, Naomi learned that God had graciously visited His people in bringing an end to the famine in Israel, and she desired to return to her beloved land. Naomi and Ruth traveled about fifty or sixty miles and came to Israel in the spring, which was the time of the barley harvest.
In Bible times, names said something about the people who bore them. The name Naomi meant “beautiful” or “pleasant.” However, by the time she returned to Israel, she felt she should be called Mara, which means “bitter” or “one whose life is grievous.” Naomi’s comments in verses 13, 20, and 21 indicate that she felt the difficulties she had to face were God’s punishment for leaving Israel.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Ruth’s resolve (1:1-22)
A. The setting (1:1-5)
B. The decision to return with Naomi to Judah (1:6-18)
C. The disgraceful return to Bethlehem (1:19-22)
Each day, let us purpose to obey God and then pray that our lives will influence others toward Him. If we do, the Lord will help us.